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Forage Looper (Caenurgina erechtea)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Forage Looper

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Image Credit: Kathleen P. from Schuyler Lake, NY
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Image Credit: Patty H. from Appleton, WI
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The understated, brown Forage Looper Moth can be found all across the continent, and unlike most moths, is active day and night.

Updated: 03/23/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The Forage Looper Moth is brown on both forewing and hindwing. Some members of its family have brilliant and brightly colored hindwings, but this species is not flashy. It is quite busy though, and can be seen in all three North American countries.

Forage Looper Moths are usually seen in open prairies, meadows and parks. They can also be found along roadsides and in fields that have an abundance of grasses (lawn, tall, ornamental) and forbs (herbs). They are known to feed on grasses, clover and ragweed. They are active between early spring and late autumn; a long period of time for a short-lived moth.

As caterpillars, Forage Looper Moths tend to move with a looping gait, hiding by day and feeding on grasses and clover under the cover of night. Many generations of this species occur in one year.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Harmless insect icon
Shiny insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Noctuidae
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          Genus: Caenurgina
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            Species: erechtea
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Caenurgina erechtea
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 30mm to 40mm (1.18" to 1.57")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; ivory; white
Descriptors: flying, harmless, striped, shiny

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 30mm (1.2in) and 40mm (1.6in)
Lo: 30mm
Md: 35mm
Hi: 40mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Forage Looper may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Forage Looper. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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